Beginning in February 2017, Osram has worked with four partners including research institutes and companies on a project called “UV Power.” The “UV Power” project is a collaborative project for which the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) provides funding.
For the project, Osram and the partners have set the goal of developing high-power UV LEDs for a broad variety of applications. Such high-power UV LEDs will eventually replace conventional UV light sources that frequently contain toxic mercury. Applications that may require replacement of toxic mercury-containing UV light sources include areas such as life sciences, disinfection, medicine, production, and the environment.
The project is part of the work done for a consortium of research institutes and companies called “Advanced UV for Life,” which is funded under the federal Zwanzig20 program.
Osram Opto Semiconductors’ four partners on the project include the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Technical University of Berlin, Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik (FBH), as well as companies LayTec AG and UVphototonics NT GmbH.
UV Power Project to Present Prototype UV LEDs by 2020
By 2020, the UV Power project intends to develop and then present prototype UV LEDs and the technology for producing high-power LEDs for the UVB and UVC spectrums using an aluminum gallium nitride (AlGaN) material fabrication system.
The UV LED research group expects the optical outputs of the new LEDs to be above 120 mW at 300 ± 10 nm, 140 mW at 280 ± 10 nm and 80 mW at 260 ± 10 nm.
According to Osram, Osram Opto Semiconductors and these partners are combining their scientific know-how. They are also making available their highly specialized technical facilities and analysis methods. Plans for the project are to extend the technology development for high-power UV LEDs along the entire LED production chain.
“The various tasks have been distributed among the partners on the basis of their strengths – everything from the production of structured sapphire substrates, epitaxy and chip processing to packaging and analytics,” said Dr. Hans-Jürgen Lugauer, Head of UV Development at Osram Opto Semiconductors. “With our presence across the international market and our expertise in industrial manufacturing, we are boosting the impact of the consortium considerably,” he added.
Group Splitting Work into Wavelength Ranges
The research group is splitting their work into different wavelength ranges to speed the development and use resources efficiently. Osram Opto Semiconductors is coordinating the project and will work on the 270 to 290 nm wavelength range.
The Technical University of Berlin is targeting its material analysis expertise towards the wavelength range of 250 to 270 nm.
The Technical University of Berlin will apply this expertise to AIGaN materials and AIGaN LEDs. TU Berlin also plans to use its extensive specialized equipment for UV analysis.
In epitaxy, the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut is working to develop technology related to the wavelengths between 290 and 310 nm in the UVB range and processing the epitaxial wafers into UV chips. LayTec AG is developing custom techniques for controlling the epitaxy and plasma etching systems.
FBH spin-off UVphotonics NT GmbH is working on the interface for users and is also responsible for optimizing the chip design to achieve high currents and efficient cooling. Additionally, UVphotonics NT GmbH will handle statistical collection and analysis of process data from the entire production chain.
For future projects, FBH, TUB and UVphotonics will investigate the subjects of assembly technology and the effects of aging as part of the consortium. The research group also wants to slow the aging behavior of the LEDs for longer and more economical operation.